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Taking a more strategic view of Employment Equity – Workforce Planning

Taking a more strategic view of Employment Equity – Workforce Planning

Being strategic demands that you look at the big picture - that you forecast and attempt to prepare for the future by taking into account as many variables as possible. Without forecasting fluctuations needed in the demand, supply, and movement of talent, a.k.a. “workforce planning,” HR will continue to get blindsided by "surprise" internal and external events

Ask yourself

  • Should EE not be motivated from economic necessity, not purely from compliance perspective?
  • If executives were exposed to economic and skills data, would they not change their attitude to importance of AA measures (attention to issues, budget allocation, elevate to strategic level)
  • Can you demonstrate in your organisation how AA measures (internal promotions & development) has reduced vacancy rates / cost of employees (internal recruitment costs lower than market costs of replacement)?
  • Can your business afford not to implement Workforce Planning initiatives (and by implication developing EAP population) out of economic necessity?

Workforce and Succession Planning ensures that "the right people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time." This definition covers a methodical process that provides managers with a framework for making human resource decisions based on the organization’s mission, strategic plan, budgetary resources and a set of desired workforce competencies.

Planning for human resource needs is one of the greatest challenges facing managers and leaders. In order to meet this challenge, a uniform process that provides a disciplined approach for matching human resources with the anticipated needs of the company is essential.
Workforce planning is a fundamental planning tool, critical to quality performance that will contribute to the achievement of programme objectives by providing a basis for justifying budget allocation and workload staffing levels and should be included as a key management activity.

Typical Problems that HR Managers face:

  • Historical numerical targets not based on actual empirical workforce requirement
  • EE Numerical target setting did not take into account concerns around scarce skills / talent shortages
  • Skills development initiatives not aligned to workforce planning requirements
  • EE Act (enforced through legal compliance) subordinate to requirements of BBBEE (which has economic incentives for compliance)
  • Lack of executive decision makers on EE Forums – frustration amongst representatives
  • EE goals not linked to strategic business goals
  • EE motivated as a compliance issue not economic / talent necessity
  • Poor collection of workforce data (beyond looking at occupational levels)

The data required in Workforce Planning is substantially more thorough and useful than the data collected for typical EE reporting:

Workforce Planning Data

Beyond simplistic EE data

  • Workforce Data
  • Age to retirement
  • Age profiles
  • Skills / educational profiles
  • Available skills in market
  • Labour turnover within each grade / skill
  • Classify jobs by profession
  • Competitor analysis
  • Economic environment

Comparison of analysis - deeper and more extensive level of analysis

EE Workforce Profile

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Job Grades & Families
  • Disability
  • HIV
  • Remuneration
  • Disciplinary Stats
  • Promotions / Recruitment
  • Terminations

Workforce Planning

  • Labour Turnover (analyse reasons)
  • Age to retirement (categories)
  • HIV projections
  • Seniority Rights
  • Turnover stats (cost, time to fill)
  • Labour Supply
  • Source of labour
  • Demand and Supply of labour
  • External factors impacting on future workforce profile
  • Competency gaps
  • Future competencies
  • Workforce population groups
  • Succession planning
  • Retention strategies

Workinfo.com recommend that you use the following initiatives to kick start Workforce Planning in your organisation:

  • In-house conference / training session on workforce planning
  • Briefing sessions with line managers (focus groups) on key principles
  • Build grassroots appreciation of workforce planning & how it will benefit line managers/ business
  • Use the language of finance / operations & principles of project management
  • Build awareness / knowledgebase / case studies (intranets)
  • Elevate to Executive Meetings and ensure that itemised as standard agenda item

If you need assistance with you EE Numerical targets, Workforce Planning etc please read on...


All Workinfo.com consultants are recognised professionals in their field of expertise and are able to offer our customers a broad and expert range of consulting services.

We offer hands on experience of the issues that face our clients, linked to experience gained and developed at the highest levels in the sectors and disciplines in which we work.

Areas of specialisation:

  • Development of Human Resource Policies and Procedures
  • Industrial Relations Consulting Services
  • Employment Equity
  • HR Strategic Planning
  • Skills Development
  • Management Training
  • Communications and Public Relations
  • Human Resources Strategic Planning
  • Health and Safety
  • Workforce Planning

All our work is subject to quality control that involves cross referring, at key stages, between the individual consultants and members of our wider team. This ensures that we are constantly able to feed in developments in good practice, approach or new perspectives for all clients, and is why we are often at the forefront of new initiatives.

For more information contact

Gary Watkins
Director: Human Resources & Industrial Relations
C: 082 416 7712
F: 086 689 7862
E: gary@workinfo.com

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Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

Managing Director


C: +27 (0)82 416 7712

T: +27 (0)10 035 4185 (Office)

F: +27 (0)86 689 7862

Website: www.workinfo.com
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